The influence of 'spiritual meaning-making' on career choice, transition and experience

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dc.contributor.author Lips-Wiersma, Marjolein Silvia en
dc.date.accessioned 2006-11-30T01:19:28Z en
dc.date.available 2006-11-30T01:19:28Z en
dc.date.issued 1999 en
dc.identifier.citation Thesis (PhD--Management and employment relations)--University of Auckland, 1999. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/18 en
dc.description Subscription resource available via Digital Dissertations only. en
dc.description.abstract The focus of this inquiry is “The influence of ‘spiritual meaning-making’ on career choice, transition and experience”. Over the past decade there has been an increase in interest in the expression of spiritual belief in work. Most of the writing on the topic is based on the premise that individuals and organisations have lost meaning, and that the problem of meaning in work needs to addressed to enhance the ways in which we organise, and to enhance organisational output and personal wellbeing. Whereas the current writing on spirituality and work often suggests that organisations should provide more meaning, this research took a more humble starting point by asking what meanings individuals with spiritual belief are currently attributing to, and discovering in, their work, and by asking how and whether these meanings determine work behaviour. I argue in this thesis that the concept of meaning-making is central to spirituality. I reviewed the psychological literature on meaning and as a result decided to focus the inquiry on three core elements of meaning; purpose, sense-making and coherence. In order to step back from the organisational agenda, and give voice to the authenticity of diverse spiritual beliefs, I chose to use career, rather than organisational theory, as framework for this inquiry. An additional theoretical framework of ‘agency and communion’ was introduced to conceptualise human motivation beyond its current narrow ‘self’ and ‘doing’ oriented definitions. A combination of ‘collaborative human inquiry’ and ‘narrative’ methodology was chosen to elicit subjective career meanings. Fifteen individuals with diverse spiritual beliefs participated in this research. These included a Buddhist, a Quaker, a Catholic, a Bahá'í, and a Mormon, as well as those not currently affiliated with an organized religion. The findings show that spiritual belief strongly determines career choice, transition and experience. It was found that research participants, in spite of their diverse beliefs, shared four purposes: ‘developing and becoming self’, ‘union with others’, ‘expressing self’ and ‘serving others’. When these purposes can be expressed fully, the workplace is experienced to be aligned with spiritual belief, and individuals are contributing fully, especially when diversity of spiritual expressions is acknowledged at the same time. Career transitions are made through an ongoing sense-making process as a result of which the individual may decide that the four purposes are no longer in balance and action is required in order to continue to live meaningfully. This sensemaking is a result of ongoing interaction between the individual and his or her work environment. Coherence is a result of the transrational element of spirituality, when the individual feels his or her work is still aligned with a bigger (divine) plan. This is assessed on an ongoing basis through prayer, asking ‘was this meant to be’ and reframing difficulties and setbacks as opportunities for learning and development. I suggest that it may not be wise to seek collective enactment of the trans-rational as it has no firm basis for collective organisational decision-making. It cannot seek collective expression due to the diversity of beliefs of organisational members. However I strongly suggest that an organisation that wants to align itself with the spiritual beliefs of its members, ensures that the four purposes of ‘developing and becoming self’, ‘union with others’, ‘expressing self’ and ‘serving others’ can be fully enacted in the organisation, keeping in mind that spirituality expresses itself in process as well as outcome. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA916236 en
dc.rights Subscription resource available via Digital Dissertations only. Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.source.uri http://wwwlib.umi.com/dissertations/fullcit/9969054 en
dc.subject.other EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL (0747) en
dc.subject.other BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, MANAGEMENT (0454) en
dc.subject.other PSYCHOLOGY, INDUSTRIAL (0624) en
dc.subject.other RELIGION, GENERAL (0318) en
dc.title The influence of 'spiritual meaning-making' on career choice, transition and experience en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Management and employment relations en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.local.anzsrc 1503 - Business and Management en
pubs.org-id Faculty of Business & Economic en


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